ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced $20.9 million in new grants to 19 land banks that are working to protect homeowners and neighborhoods across the state by acquiring abandoned properties and returning them to productive use. This new funding brings Attorney General Schneiderman’s total investment in land banks to $57 million since 2013.
The grants were awarded under the Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative (CRI). The Office of the Attorney General established the initiative in 2013 with funding secured through settlements with the nation’s largest banks over misconduct that contributed to the housing crisis. As of November 2016, when the Office of the Attorney General published “Revitalizing New York State,” a report on the land bank initiative, the New York land banks had:
- Reclaimed more than 1,995 abandoned properties
- Returned over 700 properties to market
- Demolished 409 unstable structures
- Preserved $19 million in property value for surrounding homes
This round of funding, which was made possible by settlements the Attorney General secured last year with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, provides renewal grants to the state’s original ten land banks and start-up grants to nine more newly established land banks, many of which are in rural areas across the state.
“Communities throughout New York are still suffering the fallout from the housing crisis, and my office will continue to support innovative efforts to help them recover,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “With today’s round of grants, all 19 land banks will build on the significant accomplishments already achieved over the past three years, helping put abandoned properties back into use, revitalizing towns and cities, and creating a safer, more stable, and more vibrant environment for New York’s families.”
“The Land Banks of New York State are specially crafted tools, customized to each locality, that compliment the private market, and the programs of not-for-profit developers and municipalities,” said Joe Fama, Director of the Troy Community Land Bank. “We are thankful to the Attorney General for the wisdom and generosity with which he has created and supplied these innovative and effective instruments of renewal for the disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout our state. Today's announcement is a welcome show of continued confidence and support in the accomplishments and potential of New York State's Land Banks.”